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IBMT plaque at Corbera d'Ebre

A plaque to the British Battalion’s last stand near Corbera d’Ebre in September 1938 was unveiled on 24 September 2013 by family members of those who took part in the fighting.

A slideshow of photos of the event can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/16ymnw8

The plaque stands next to the old church of Corbera d‘Ebre, which was ruined during the Battle of the Ebro and has been preserved as a memorial.

The IBMT’s Antifascistas exhibition, with translations into Catalan and Spanish, is on display inside the church.

Among the speakers were Jordi Palou-Loverdos, Director of the Catalan government’s Memorial Democratic agency, IBMT Secretary Jim Jump, Vicente González, President of the AABI Spanish International Brigade friendship group, local dignitaries and family members of International Brigade volunteers.

Here’s an extract from the speech made by Jim Jump:

This is a memorial that will inform future generations of the heroism, suffering and sacrifice of the International Brigades and their Spanish comrades.

It will remind the world of their example of international solidarity between ordinary people standing up to fascism, militarism and tyranny.

Seventy-five years ago, in September 1938, these volunteers were defending democracy and shedding their blood for the cause.

Let’s not forget that in that very same month, September 1938, the governments of Britain and France were shamefully doing a deal with Hitler and Mussolini in Munich.

Britain and France had already abandoned the Spanish Republic to eventual defeat. At Munich they sacrificed another democracy – Czechoslovakia – and made world war inevitable.

So as we remember the battle that was fought here 75 years ago, we should remember too what brought these volunteers from around the world to Spain:

– Anger at the lies and duplicity of governments who put their own narrow class interests ahead of those of ordinary people.

– Hopes for a world free of military aggression, where the rich and powerful cannot impose their will by force on others.

– And the dream of a better world, free from racism, antisemitism, hunger and exploitation and one based on equal rights and social justice for all.

These values we still carry in our hearts and we will pass them on to new generations. This memorial will help us in that task. Long live the memory of the International Brigades.

A message from IBMT Patron Rodney Bickerstaffe was read out by Dolores Long, IBMT Chair and daughter of Sam Wild, commander of the British Battalion during the Battle of the Ebro:

I’m sorry I can’t be with you today. But my thoughts are with you – and with the volunteers of the British Battalion and all their comrades in the International Brigades and the Spanish Republican army.

My thoughts are also with the many International Brigade volunteers that I’ve had the privilege to know over the years, all of them, sadly, now gone. Among them was my good friend Jack Jones, who fought on the hillsides around you.

Jack and his son Mick brought me a few years ago to this battlefield and to the cave hospital at La Bisbal de Falset where the medics of the International Brigades did their heroic work.

It’s a shame that none of these volunteers can be with you today, nor even Mick Jones, who long wanted this memorial to be erected. Those brave men and women are now gone – but their memory and the lessons they taught us live on – thanks in no small part to memorials like this.